GILAS Pilipinas Youth is heading to its overseas training with a gritty victory over pesky Far Eastern University, 67-66, in the squad's final tuneup game Thursday at Meralco Gym.
Kai Sotto scored 14 points, while frontcourt partner AJ Edu poured nine as the Nationals escaped a game challenge from the Tamaraws.
Their resolve, though, was tested as Gilas Youth wasted a 12-point lead, 63-51 in the final 5:39 as FEU battled back and got to within one after Royce Alforque stole the ball from Terrence Fortea and drove for an easy layup with 18.3 seconds remaining.
Dave Ildefonso had a chance to ice the game at the free throw line, but he muffed both of his attempts, leaving the window open for the Tamaraws in the clutch.
Ken Tuffin, though, would miss his potential game-winning left corner three as time expired.
Xyrus Torres turned heads with his 14 points for the national team, as Gerry Abadiano added nine.
It was Gilas Youth's final training in the country as it is set to fly for Doha on Friday evening, where point guard Dalph Panopio will finally join the pool.
The Philippines is preparing for the 2019 Fiba Under-19 World Cup in Heraklion, Greece later this month.